Ella decides to write a book. She has very specific ideas about what she does and doesn’t want in a story. Monsters, princesses, and castles make the cut, while bears are ruled out. Although she thinks the fairy godmother saves the day in her story, it is actually a bear lurking on each and every page. Kids will get a kick out of knowing a secret that the narrator is unaware of. A clever book that will be enjoyed by many children.
Recommended by Jenny Newstead, Librarian, South Carolina USA
Ella is telling a story, and she knows what it needs to be perfect. Of course, it has to have words like Once upon a time. Ella also knows what it does not need: "I'm tired of bears. Every time you read a book, it's just BEARS BEARS BEARS--horrible furry bears slurping honey in awful little caves. You don't need BEARS for a book." That said, our budding young author lists all the important things a story should have--fairies, princess, funny and exciting things, and so on--and begins her tale.
Once upon a time (naturally), a beautiful princess lived in a castle with her royal parents and fairy godmother and NO BEARS. Not only were there no bears in the castle, there were none anywhere in the kingdom, or the next one, or the one after that. However, in a land far away, there was a monster who wanted to capture the princess. So the creature traveled to the castle, sneaked in, and snatched her away. When the princess cried for help, she was rescued--and the king and queen threw a party for the fairy godmother, "because everyone knew she was the one who had saved the princess with her fantastical magic powers." Or was she?
As Ella concludes her story, she believes this is the best book ever: "Because there were NO BEARS in it. NOT ONE!" However, readers and listeners will delightedly point out the presence of a bear clad in a green honeybee-decorated dress, who makes her appearance at the beginning of the book--and, unknown to either the narrator or (at first) any of the characters, becomes an integral part of the plot. Her request for secrecy by a finger on the snout and other subtle actions add to the giggle quality of this story. Appearances by Little Red Riding Hood and other storybook characters increase the fun. Leila Rudge's bright, humorous illustrations are spot-on. This gem is sure to become a read-aloud and read-alone favorite, and might spark interest in young writers creating their own literary masterpieces. Ages 4-7
Recommended by Barbara Karp, Librarian, New York USA